Waging War On Wal-Mart
George Will‘s piece in the current Newsweek, “Waging War On Wal-Mart” argues that
Zoning and other laws used to block Wal-Marts from opening are, in effect, tariffs serving domestic protectionism. Talk about protecting “a sense of community” often is avarice masquerading as altruism. It is rent-seekingÃ¢€”the use of government to confer economic advantagesÃ¢€”tarted up as political philosophy.
Agreed. Will details the many advantages conferred by the Bentonville behemoth including
procurement and labor practices that, according to the McKinsey consulting group, made Wal-Mart responsible for about 25 percent of the nation’s astonishing productivity increases in the 1990s. The low prices made possible by these practices have made Wal-Mart a significant contributor to low inflation. Warren Buffett says Wal-Mart has contributed more than any other company to today’s economic vigor.
Fortunately, as with most attempts to circumvent overwhelming market pressures, a workaround is already underway:
In the past century, arms control, another liberal passion, limited the number of certain nations’ battleships. The result? The rise of pocket battleshipsÃ¢€”ships with hull sizes just small enough to not count as battleships, but packing the wallop of battleships. Wal-Mart has opened a 99,000-square-foot store to comply with an anti-Wal-Mart law banning stores larger than 100,000 square feet.